My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow – what a book. I didn’t expect to love this one. Like, maybe, but definitely not love. And guess what? I do love it. Nolan has come along and created a book filled with characters that have been swimming around my head for days, making me think about them as if they were real. And when a book does that to me, I know I’ve enjoyed it.
What comes alive for me the most, in this book, is Elly. Elly is one of those characters you kind of want to smack upside the head at the beginning and say ‘grow the hell up, girl’. But then we stay with her a little longer and the reason she acts out becomes apparent and understandable. You begin to warm to her and the immature things she does, and the snarky attitude actually become endearing. You want to root for her. You want everything to work out perfectly.
What makes this book are definitely the characters. You have pregnant Elly who has pretty much floated through her teen years getting in trouble because of her older boyfriend, and then finds herself married and living on a fat camp with him and his parents who run it. Not only does she not know what she’s going to do once she has the baby, but she starts to realise that maybe her boyfriend, Lam, isn’t the guy she thought he was and someone else might actually be the one for her.
Then you have Lam. He’s a confusing one. I think because we’re in Elly’s head, we see him as she does. He’s an ultimate douche, especially to her (leaving her on their wedding night to go to a party, knowing she’s seven months pregnant and can’t go). But, sometimes I found myself wanting their relationship to work and thinking ‘aww, that’s sweet’. And then towards the end, I kinda hated him.
Both sets of parents are realistically flawed, but also a great supporting cast. Especially the in laws. Every time they were described, I could picture them so well. I really liked how Elly dealt with them too.
And of course, the camp kids and counsellors. All of the – every single one that was named and described – added to the story. I was never bored around them and their conversations were realistic for people around their age group, but telling and heartfelt. I felt for the overweight kids who had been sent by their parents to lose weight. I felt for the bullied ones and even the mean ones. And that’s where Nolan excels. Because though everyone is described honestly and nothing is sugar coated, she makes you see all sides to the person and you realise that no one person is good or bad. They have layers and issues and good and bad traits.
You’re taken on a rollercoaster with this novel, one that I encourage you to go along with. One minute, you think everything might work out. The next, you’re crying because things just go so terribly wrong. This novel is just so honest and so enthralling. It doesn’t shy away from hard topics and it definitely doesn’t sugarcoat anything.
I recommend this to everyone. Seriously. Pick it up and read it. You won’t be disappointed.